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Ep 54 // Welcome Back To Season Four and Updates! (Part Two)

2022 has arrived, and I have LOTS to share with you guys! So much so that I had to split this episode into two parts. In this episode, you will hear information about.... The TWE Academy, hear about some of my plans for 2022, and hear updates on each of the horses.

  • Finn (Where did his mane and tail go?)

  • Raven's (under-saddle and EPM) Cashmere (Is she here to stay?)

  • River (Under-saddle and ??? Some big news here)

  • Candy & Cash (Aging, weight, and pain management)

  • June (You'll be seeing her around a lot!) Pumpkin (Fractured molars and ligament injuries)

Plus... a discussion about creating a medical support team for your horses, problem-solving mysterious medical conditions, and how just one or two vet exams are not enough to rule out pain!

For More Information On PSSM :



Facebook Groups:

'PSSM & MFM Awareness'

'PSSM Forum'

How to test your horse for PSSM1 & PSSM2: (PSSM1 & 2 - UK & Europe) (PSSM 2 - USA & rest of the world) (PSSM 1 - USA & rest of the world ) To Learn More About The Willing Equine :


Ep 54

[00:00:00] Welcome to season four of The Willing Equine Podcast. The podcast where we chat about all things horses, and being the best horse people we can be for our horses. My name is Adele Shaw. I'm a certified behavior consultant, and my passion is for creating positive relationships between horses and people.

[00:00:28] This is part two of a two part podcast series. We are covering updates for 2022 and just going into the new year, just covering a lot of ground from things that happened in 2021 with the horses and TWE and myself, and just all kinds of stuff. So definitely go back and listen to that first episode.

[00:00:46] In this episode, we are going to talk about River and Raven in particular with very big updates about River. And then afterwards, we're gonna start covering more topics. We're gonna cover a lot of ground. It's gonna be super valuable for all horse owners and caregivers out there. So I hope you enjoy this episode and just keep listening.

[00:01:05] Raven has been doing really well. So for you guys that don't know Raven She came to me for board and train as a client horse when she was an adopted horse for these other people. And she was with me for, I think it was about a year when she, she was with me in board and train. However things happened and the owners couldn't keep her anymore, so they were gonna send her back to her rescue cuz the rescue that she came from com. Maintains 51% ownership. So technically the rescue still owns her, but the adopters like they have 49%. And I believe that math was right . And they, they do all, every, they basically keep her as their own. But that way, if anything of her were to happen, the rescue just takes her back cuz she's technically still theirs. They were gonna send her back to the rescue because they couldn't keep her anymore. This was right after, you know, this was during 2020 and everybody was not able to work and it was just a mess. And so so she was gonna go back to the rescue, which is why I ended up calling the rescue and asking them to let me foster her. So I applied to foster her. They decided to leave her with me, and I fostered her for probably about another year. I don't exactly remember what the dates were. And then last year in 2021, I officially adopted Raven. So Raven is now one of the TWE permanent herd members, a family member. Now she's mine. And of course, the rescue maintains that like I'm, I've adopted her through the rescue, so the same thing applies to me. And so yeah, she is turning five this spring. Best I can guess. She, we don't have an exact birthdate on her, although, I don't know, there's some disagreement on her age. The dentist tell me that she's younger than that. So she would actually be more like four and a half this spring. But it's whatever.

[00:02:56] So she, she has also, so more on her, she's actually has epm, which is a neurological condition that we've been working to put the, all the symptoms into remission and getting her feeling well and boosting her immune system and getting her back to feeling like a normal horse, and she's doing so well. We, we've been having some ups and downs, so there's been some flareups and then some better months, and then a month or two that's not as great. We've been keeping up with her parasite control, so like staying on top of the worm load for EPM horses is really important. Staying on top of their diet is really important, meaning there's it's low sugar, no grains, things like that. Making sure they have added vitamin E. There's things, again, talk to a nutritionalist or a vet that is qualified in this area. And then keeping her immune system really strong is important. Right now she's doing very well and we've been making a lot of progress. We've been, we started under saddle, so she's had her first handful of rides under saddle, which is so much fun and she is going to be a blast. I think she's actually gonna really excel in like endurance or like long distance trail riding. So I'm very much looking forward to that. And the whole process of starting her under saddle has been recorded and is, has been added to my academy. So the thing I talked about in the beginning of this episode, all of my academy members will have, do, have access to that and will be continuing to have access to starting horses under saddle with positive reinforcement. And Raven is one of the main featured horses in that course and in that content so that's been a lot of. And we put it on rest over the winter. So I, we did a first handful of rides and then I let her sit for the winter. Just mostly cuz I was really busy, but also the weather's really bad and I couldn't be consistent. And also I think it's really beneficial to do something for a little bit and then stop and then come back to it. I also wanted to get her more in shape before I continued under saddle work for longer periods. So that's something we've been really working on is building up her, just the way she carries her body. Building up her balance, that's big with the neurological horse is making sure that they can safely carry a rider and that they are aware of where all their feet are and such. So we've been working on that. There's been a lot that goes into keeping her happy and healthy and she is doing extremely well. Very happy with her. The other day I had this big success moment where we've been shaping halting Square and standing square, which is a really a challenge for her. She wants to stand with one foot way or hind foot way up underneath her, and then really camped over in front, which is not confirmational so much as it's just awareness of the body and her ability to hold herself and balance herself. So it's more of a neurological thing. So bringing awareness to those feet and teaching her how to stand square and building up the muscle tone to be able to do that. All that has been really important. Using balance mats, things like. Shaping that. And the other day she was standing perfectly square and I was so excited. I took pictures and was like sharing it. And anyway, it was a lot of fun. So Raven has been doing very well and I'm very excited about what's to come for her and we're gonna keep working under saddle in 2022 and continue working on her fitness, in her overall health. So just an ongoing thing with her ongoing progress, ongoing work. So yeah, that's on Raven.

[00:06:21] So most all of you guys probably know who River is. River. Quick recap. She is turning six this spring. She's my paint buckskin, paint mare, and I've had her since she was four and a half months old. She's my from the very beginning, clicker trained, positive reinforcement, cooperative care horse. She has never experienced anything else but that. And so has, and Raven actually, it's pretty much that as well. But River is just like my, like my baby, right? So I've raised her and we, she had a bit of a, it was pretty traumatic weaning process that we had some fallout from that we had to work through. I need to do a whole episode on weaning practices and. The potential fallout from our common weaning practices, and then also what comes from too early of weaning or too sudden. Anyway, all of that, and then what potentially a more ideal weaning process would be, but. Just for this episode, she had a traumatic weaning process that we had some fallout from, meaning that we had some resource guarding and we had some depression that came from that. And we had some health issues and she wasn't eating and anyway, there was all this stuff that we had to work through. And then also I was learning a lot during that stage cuz she was my first horse to work with that had, wasn't a crossover horse. So a horse that had traditional negative reinforcement training to begin with, and that I was crossing into positive reinforcement, clicker training shoes. The one, the very first one where I was like, she's had nothing else. She's a blank slate. And I'm doing this all with positive reinforcement. So there's been a lot of, there's been learning curves that have come with that. They have been all fantastic, and I wouldn't ever do it any other way. Again, I'm so excited to be able to raise future foals this way. I am really looking forward, and especially doing it without the mistakes that I made with her. I'm sure there'll be new mistakes that I'll learn from wonderful learning opportunities and that'll be a lot of fun. But I just kind of, the final, if I'm gonna say like, the, the result of this grand experiment was, it's awesome. I'm gonna do it again. So I started her initially under saddle, about four years old, and then we did a couple of rides. And I decided that she really needed more time to grow and to mature and get more balance and to fill out. She was very, she was, she has been on the slower side as far as filling out goes when it comes to like quarter horse types. Now, however, quarter horses don't grow any faster as far as structurally than any other breed, so, yes, she wasn't done, completely done growing and technically they're not completely done growing until like six or seven structurally. So, but with that being said, quarter horses do tend to fill out and thicken out and look more mature and look more grown earlier than a many of the other breeds, especially like warm bloods and all those. So she was on the slower side though for what's average with a quarter horse type. And also mentally I felt like she needed more time as well. So we, we did a couple of rides , just some sitting on her and kind of casually wandering around and clicking and reinforcing. And then we put that to rest for a long time and then I picked it back up. And when she was five and last year, 2021, we did bunch more riding. And I say a bunch, I guess I need to put that in perspective. We probably we did initial trail rides that were just a little bit around the barn. We did five to 10, maybe 15 minutes, but mostly like 10 minute walk only riding sessions. We did quite a few of those. So I did a, you know, at least maybe one a week for a while. And then we started introducing some trotting under saddle. We did a couple of those. And then that was pretty much it for 2021. So it was more riding, but still very light in comparison to what is common with starting horses under saddle. And so it was really just walk only, mostly with a few trot steps is really what came, what happened in 2021. And then it was under, all under about 10 minutes. So I never really rode her more than 10 minutes at a time in a walk. So that was 2021 and 2022 is coming now, and I'm really excited to get more Into the riding and now that she's turning six, so she's getting to the end, she's pretty much done growing and structurally she's definitely filled out. She looks very mature now and is just full mare, right? She is just beautiful and she's filled out and she's ready to start doing more. So I'm looking forward to doing more trot work, doing longer trail rides, going beyond just the barn area and going further out onto the property potentially. Doing some more advanced riding stuff, so maybe starting some lateral movements, things like that.

[00:10:58] We've also started doing some in hand dressage work, so working on being able to do lateral work in hand, so shoulder in haunches, in leg yields, things like that in hand. So classical dressage in hand type style, but we're doing it all at liberty with positive reinforcement and clicker. So it's all cooperative, it's all autonomous, and meaning that the horse has a choice to participate or not, and I'm excited to show you guys more of what that looks like on social media. And then of course, all my academy members get like full unedited type or documentation of a lot of this stuff. So that's that's a lot of fun to share and I'm very excited about that. And she's very she loves very detailed stuff, very precise stuff. So the in hand stuff is like right up her alley cuz she's like, oh, you want me to flick my right ear just two centimeters to the left? Anyway, it's just funny. That's just how she is. And so we're having a lot of fun doing that.

[00:11:51] However, we had a little bit of a surprise show up in the end of 2021. I had, long story short, there was a lot of, there were clients that were having horses that we suspected may have pssm. And so I was having them get their horses tested and then it, we would get back the results and it was like, well, this explains so much and all of that. And and I have been wanting to test Pumpkin for pssm. But I hadn't gone through with it cuz it can be expensive. Well, PSSM one isn't very expensive to test for, but Pssm two is, thankfully they're both, ha, sorry. Hay. Oh my gosh. Hair tests if you're US based, however, in other countries, sometimes it requires blood draws. And I just, I've never gone through with it. One, because getting that pssm result doesn't necessarily change what I was doing because I was already providing her a pssm diet with higher vitamin E and good protein content and just all this other stuff that they recommend, a low sugar, all of that. But I started wondering about River because she, she has a harder time in the winter. She, even though she has a really big coat and like ha, all of that fluff, , she sometimes can be very reactive to being touched in the, especially in the winter. Not so much in the summer. She also can be very exercise intolerant. So if we do some exercises that work her shoulders or her chest a lot, or her back end, sometimes she can be very sore from those to the point where she doesn't want her chest being touched after. So, and I'm talking about like, we did some ground poles for like five minutes tops and the next day she's refusing to let anybody touch her and she will actively like lash out in self defense because she's like, that hurts a lot. And it doesn't happen very often. It's only happened a couple of times, but it was starting to become a question in my mind, like, what is going on? And I was, I was really struggling to piece together the dots. So, because it came on so suddenly, or so gradually, and it wasn't always consistent and there didn't always seem to be consistent trigger. And so then there were other times where things showed up and I thought they were related to something else. So sometimes these behaviors would show up and I was thinking, oh, it was food. It was resource guarding because that's kind of what it looked like and that's made sense to my brain. Or it was another time like, oh, she was fearful of the farrier doing this. So that, that's the dots that connected in my brain. So I was thinking it was all these other things. Well, then I started really kind of reevaluating everything and piecing together some of these symptoms of PSSM especially as I had started to learn more based on my experiences with my client horses.

[00:14:27] Which goes back to what I was saying initially. I love working with so many different horses and learning from them cuz it brings new information to the table that I didn't necessarily have before that I can then apply to future situations. So my working with different behavioral cases where we were having behaviors like aggression or severe resource guarding or one of the symptoms I was seeing for another case that's coming to mind was that sometimes he would be fine being blanketed and sometimes you couldn't get anywhere near him with a blanket. Sometimes he'd be fine being touched and he loved being touched and sometimes you couldn't get anywhere near him to touch him, and then he would act out aggressively about it. And they seemed to flare up more in the winter, which is also common with PSSM horses because of the cold. And it makes their muscles get stiff and, and hurt and all of that. So anyway, so those experiences, I started really kind of brainstorming about. And thinking about them and mulling over them and thinking about River.

[00:15:25] And sometimes when I would see these, it seemed like we would make a bunch of progress and then something would happen and it didn't really make a whole lot of sense. And then I was like, okay. But I think maybe it was that, but that's kind of weird. But then it wouldn't happen again. So I was like, okay, I'll just dismiss it. It was just an anomaly. Like it was just something, anyway, that whole thing was to say is, oh, and then also on top of that, the other symptom was that, She doesn't all like to canter. She does not like to canter at all. Even out on her own, she struggles sometimes. Sometimes she's great and she'll canter and sometimes she just won't. She'll just like, sometimes it seems like she'll be very stiff. Like she, this is really the biggest one that showed up was that periodically she looks like she's almost lame in the back and it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. She's just really stiff. She's just really stiff in her hind end, and then she'll be fine the next day and then it'll come back. And so it was just hot and cold coming and going. Non-consistent thing that was showing up. It was like periodic unexplainable lameness. And she's been X-rayed up and down. She's been checked by the vet multiple times. Like we had, we had been exhausting things, trying to figure out what was going on with her. And then people were starting to think I was crazy. Cuz I was like, something's wrong. Anyway, it was just, I always thought, I thought it was going crazy. Anyway, river came back with a positive Pssm two test, and I'm gonna say at this point, You need to do your own research if you suspect that your horse may have Pssm two. I'm gonna talk briefly about it, but I'm not gonna make this whole episode about it cuz that could go on and on and on. And I've had a lot of experiences with it at this point with different client horses and now my own horse. And also Pumpkin came back not positive for Pssm, so that was interesting. PSSM one or two. So that was an interesting discovery I found. And so I've had a lot of experiences with this, with it at this point, however, we are still learning a lot about Pssm two especially, and there is controversy over Pssm two and the the test done for it. And some vets believe it's a thing, some vets don't. I believe it's a thing, and even if it's not specifically Pssm two, there is some correlation. There is something there. We just need to know more, and that's basically where I'm landing at as far as my opinion goes. If a horse comes back with Pssm two, we're showing these symptoms with Pssm two and there's different variants of Pssm two. Whether or not we decide to call it something later different, like we call it different than Pssm later on, that's fine. Something is going on muscularly though for the horses, that it's causing them to have abnormal gates. To be on inconsistent, abnormal gates. So like lameness will just randomly show up and then go away. It's also causing them to have abnormal canter strides. So we'll see like bunny hopping at the canter. We'll see not wanting to canter or cross firing. We'll see what appears to be chronic, like ulcer type symptoms where they don't want to be touched, but yet they've been treated for ulcers repeatedly. So we'll see stuff like that. So it's sensitivity to being touched. We'll see increased resource guarding. So like, don't get near me, don't touch my food, don't touch me with horses, with PSSM, so we see tying up episodes, which can look like laying down on the ground and like not moving. They can also look like a horse just standing with their butt to like a rail or back to a fence or a shelter and just holding it there and not moving. So it's like they're just frozen in place and they just don't wanna move at all cuz it hurts. A really common one that I see is farrier problems. So not being able to stand for the farrier consistently and having on and off issues with the farrier chronically, that's a big one. River was having some of that, and all of my other client horses that have come back with positive pssm, one or two tests have also had that issue. They also typically don't like body work because it's painful. Like they won't even tolerate it. Some horses will tolerate it even though it's uncomfortable, like they just will not, like it's just not gonna happen. There's a lot of different symptoms. I highly recommend you go and look up the symptoms for Pssm one and Pssm two. They can look slightly different. There's a lot of fluctuating and information that's out there and a lot of diet recommendations that are anecdotal because we don't have enough research on this at this point. And there's again, a lot of controversy over it, and some vets believe in it, some vets don't. However, I will say that I do firmly believe in it. It's just that maybe we just don't know enough about it yet, and maybe there's some variants we haven't discovered yet, and maybe we need more research and maybe we need more case studies like it's coming, whatever. Whatever's there is there. It's just that we haven't like solidified what we know about it yet. And this is very normal for the research process. This is very normal for science. It's like the thing is there, like, it's not like gravity showed up when we discovered it, right. It's that we labeled it eventually. The thing is there, we just needed to research it and study it and label it and define it. And this is what Gravity is, right? So something is there, something is there with PSSM Horses and Pssm two something is there. We just need more research and we need more to identify it better. And we need to know how to work with it more and to help horses with it. There's no treatment for it. It's just diet based and keeping them comfortable. At this point, this is what we know. What I've been, what this means for River, and this is kind of the important part is that because of how, what her genetic test was, the results that came back and because of what we know about it, it's, it's a degenerative disease, so it's likely that her symptoms will get worse as she gets. Which is of course a bummer and, you know, emotional because I don't want that for her. But what I do know is she doesn't have it if the tests are accurate. Let's just put it that way. If the tests are accurate, she does not have it as bad as many horses do. And the more, the more really bad cases that I've seen, the horses that come back with multiple positives for variants and. You know, like, anyway, there there is, there's kind of lighter end of the spectrum and there's more severe ends of the spectrum when it comes to pssm. So she's on the lighter end, which is a benefit, which is a bonus. Or I should say it just makes it better. And thankfully I'm catching it really early so with diet management and in managing her environment and knowing what's there, and knowing what's potentially going to increase over time, I can prepare, I can prepare and I can prepare her. She's six, turning six this spring. And this is actually the first winter that we were actually seeing any symptoms. So and, and I started seeing symptoms. If I think about it now, there were some symptoms last year, but this is the first year. I'm like, okay, there was actually symptoms. And I'll be able to define them and look at them. And there were fewer symptoms last year. So, I'm able to do stuff. I've already started doing stuff since we've gotten that positive result, I've already started to do stuff to help her like blanketing her more. So even though she has a really thick coat, I actually blanket her pretty heavy to keep her muscles soft and relaxed and warm, and that helps her tremendously. I can't tell you the difference between like when she's just out in the pasture. And she's cold. Like if it's below freezing and even though she feels warm to the touch, like her hair, she's not wet or anything like that. But she's kind of, she's really grumpy. She doesn't usually wanna be touched at that point. And she's moving really stiff if I go and put a blanket on her and give her an hour or two, her demeanor changes. Everything changes. She's moving around, she's trotting around, she's having a good time again, and the whole thing changes. So even though she has an adequate coat, knowing that she really has to be blanketed due to her muscular condition is gonna help us tremendously, so then I can really help manage those symptoms so she can be happy and comfortable. and then we won't see the symptoms as often. But again, there's no cure for this and it's not going to necessarily get better. I can't make it. I can't make it go away, but I can manage her environment, her symptoms, and her diet and all of that enough, that I could potentially make it almost non-existent problem, if that makes sense. Especially during these early years. It is potential to, has potential to get much worse as she gets older. But at this point I'm, I don't know. We don't, we're just gonna, it's kind of a waiting game.

[00:23:54] So I, I did find it really interesting that Pumpkin came back with negative for both Pssm one and Pssm two. The oh, you know, the other really big symptom is like laziness, like quote, laziness. Like they don't wanna move forward and they're reluctant to move at all. That's a really big one. And that was definitely River. River I would have labeled and I still do kind of label as an energy conserver in quotation marks. She really doesn't want, she has like good days where she wants to move and is moving great. And then when she has having a bad day, she's like, Nope, we're walking. That's it. That's all we're doing today. If that, maybe I'll just stand here. She really likes stationary behaviors which is interesting because. So Pumpkin has a negative result. She still has other things. So she has PPID, so Cushings, and she has, she's insulin resistant. So she is ems ir, and she has some similar symptoms. So now that I've seen both of these results and I've seen these two different horses, it's interesting cuz I'm able to differentiate between them. They both have some similar symptoms, but they also have very different symptoms. So like Pumpkin is not really affected by the cold. Actually the cold makes her more frisky. She tends to just get like jumping in the air and she's cantering, rearing and trotting. She's getting fresh right when it's cold, whereas River like gets stiff and doesn't wanna move and will just stand there in the sun and is just like, don't touch me, don't move me. Like she gets really grumpy, whereas Pumpkin gets like fresh and is running around and doing all this fun stuff. Some of the other things is Pumpkin does not have problems with the farrier. She's great for the farrier, whereas River does on occasion, not every time, but when she's having a flare up, she does, especially on her front. And for whatever reason it affects her a. She gets really tight and sore in her chest, and so sometimes she has more problems in her front end with the farrier. Pumpkin does not. Pumpkin can be an energy conserver. She used to be an energy conserver and used to be lazy, but once I started training her in a force free approach and really implementing positive reinforcement and all that, she really came to life and now she plays and runs and is really high energy and sometimes she's way too much to put my novice riders on and she gets too fresh and she's just like, yes, let's trot and let's canter, let's do all these things. River would not break into a canter if her life depended on it, if she was having a flare up. Like it's just, she's just not, she's just not doing it. And on a good day, she might canter if she's out in the field, but she's not gonna do it on a circle. She might cross canter as well. She walks and trots a whole lot more. She can have a really good trot when she's not having a flare up, when she's not stiff. Her trot is beautiful. You guys have probably seen me posting a bunch of videos on social media recently of her trotting and there's actually one video of her where I have a the Equi band exercise. You know, thing on her and there's just like a wrap around the back, whatever. She's actually having a rougher day on that day and like having a harder time and she's actually not tracking up as well and she's not as in shape. Whereas there's a different video a little bit later on where she doesn't have anything on and it doesn't, is not correlated to the equi band at all. It has to do with her and what she's feeling like that day and she is moving and she is. A million bucks on that day and she's feeling great and she's also been in more consistent exercise at that point, which is another key point here. Horses with pssm need consistent low level exercise consistently. Taking long breaks and then coming back will cause exercise intolerance reactions, so like being really sore and really grouchy and painful, versus a horse like Pumpkin who's more normal in that regard. If she goes out of exercise for a long time and she comes back, she's more likely to be fresh. She'll like bucking and running and doing all these other things and just having a grand old time. She has a lot of energy, whereas River's gonna do the opposite. Lack of exercise is actually going to drop her energy level and drop her ability to move out and do things. So there's differences in how they are. However, why I thought they were more similar is because Pumpkin used to be more reactive to being touched. She used to be very self defensive or be very defensive about being touched. However, we linked that to she got a round of treatment for ulcers and then I started her on some different supplements that helped with muscle recovery and muscle. Yeah, so it's basically muscle recovery. It's meant for horses that do like endurance and other things like that. It helps their muscles recover much faster. Once I started her on that, I've never had a problem since. She's never had a problem since. She's been fine with having massages. She's been fine with body work. She's been fine with being touched, tacked up everything. Never been a problem since I've started her on that. So like with a horse with Pssm, sometimes they look like, or they, they give off symptoms that it's like they have ulcers. But it's reoccurring and chronic, meaning that a round of ulcer treatment is not going to fix it, or one supplement is not gonna fix it. It's still gonna come back and it's gonna be like, dang, I spent all this money treating you for ulcers. Why do you still have ulcer symptoms? And then you, you're tempted to say like, well, maybe it's not ulcers. But then you also like, but this is, this is the only thing that makes sense. It's ulcers. So you do another round of treatment and if you do that multiple times, you're more likely looking at something else that it's not ulcers anymore. And with pumpkin just one round and she was good. Whereas with River they would seemingly, it did seem like we were having reoccurring ulcer symptoms. Over the years that I've had her, and which didn't make a whole lot of sense because of her diet, because of her lifestyle, and because of what I feed her and, and all of that like didn't make a whole lot of sense that she would have reoccurring ulcers. It was possible and wasn't gonna dismiss it, but it didn't make as much sense. And so she did have ulcers when she was younger due to the weaning process and her surgeries and so it is very common for horses once they've had ulcers to get them much easier again if something happened. So like her stressful weaning process potentially caused the ulcers initially. And then when she had her knee surgeries, they probably came back and so we ended up doing a round of treatment. She did get a lot better. However, it seemed like six months later we were, it was coming back in, which probably if I had kept better records, was correlated with winter coming in and weather changes and all that. And also she was younger, so they weren't as severe. Now I'm, and now I see other causes for that behavior that looks like. Sensitivity to being touched and cinch and all that while I was correlating that with potentially ulcers, now I'm realizing has more to do with muscle and her discomfort in her body. So with like Pssm, there has been some big differences between the two, but I didn't know. How to separate those two. Like I, they looked too similar to me, so I thought they were probably both the same thing. Now what I'm thinking is that Pumpkin, probably the issues we were dealing with before were also related and possibly also related to her metabolic condition. So just being able to process sugar and all of that. So on a better diet and with like increased vitamin E levels and omegas and making sure her hay is really low sugar and low nsc. Making sure she stays a healthy weight and starting around the supplement for the muscle recovery and then that one round of the ulcer treatment and then keeping her on a gut supplement. She has been fantastic. Besides her teeth issue, I've not had a problem since. And she's been doing great and we haven't really been seeing any symptoms for the Cushings, the P P I D. So we haven't started medications for those. Every, so far everything seems to be maintaining. We caught it really early, so we're just keeping an eye on it. We just haven't started meds for it. Cuz that's another one of those where you can't really, you can just help the symptoms, you can't cure it. So whereas River, is more inconsistent. Things come and go. There's other triggers for it. It's not about being on a certain, I mean, the diet helps, the supplements may help. The consistent exercise at a low level will help. Blanketing her more often will help, but the triggers for the symptoms that I was seeing are less predictable. Less consistent, less yeah, than Pumpkins. Pumpkin would like, she was that way. So like she was always sensitive to being touched. She was always sensitive to being saddled up. She was always sensitive to body work. She was always slightly overweight. She was whatever it was like, it was just a persistent symptom versus Rivers that come and, like they, they change like the weather. So it's like, today we're having a bad day today, we're not having a bad day. Today, we're having a bad day. And like, it literally will change within hours even. And hers again are very mild. I've seen much more symptoms in horses. So anyway, I, this is my whole rant about Pssm and I'm still learning. So I'm gonna put this big old asteric this big old like disclaimer. I am not a vet, I am not a certified vet. I do not specialize in this area. I do not specialize in nutrition. I do not specialize in veterinary. I'm not licensed in that area. I'm a licensed and certified behaviorist. So what I'm looking at is behavior. And then all of these other professions, whether it's genetic testing or nutrition or hoof care or veterinary work, all of that are, they have their own specialties, and that is their job. That is what they do. That is what they know. That is what they've studied. That's what they go to school for. That's what they do on a daily basis. I bring them all in. I bring in a team to help me with my horses. When I'm conveying information to you guys, I am very strongly looking at it from a behavioral perspective. I'm very strongly looking at it through a limited information lens as far as those professions go, the veterinary profession, all of that. So if you suspect your horse has one of these things that I've just mentioned based on some symptoms that I may or may not have mentioned, there's a lot more symptoms out there, please do your research. Go talk to your vet. Go talk to your nutritionist. Go talk to your healthcare provider. Go talk to, you know, these different body workers. Go talk to the qualified professions professionals in their area. It's important to have a team together, to work to help your horse, to support you and your horse, and to keep everybody doing their best that they can. No one person knows it all. And even with vets and healthcare providers and body workers and all that, they each have their individual specialties within their area. So a good example of this is we see this in the canine world a lot, a dog world. When we have a behaviorist, we have people that specialize in aggression. We have people that specialize in separation anxiety, be. Related behaviors. We have people that specialize in like re resource guarding might go into aggression, but we have people that specialize in like abnormal, like neurological stuff. We have people, there's different specialties. Yes, they can, they know a bunch about a lot of different things because they're, that's what they, their behavior behaviors, behavior. But what you'll find is even within like behaviorists or trainers, Vets or hoof care providers or whatever, a lot of times they will individually specialize in certain areas. I have found that there are certain vets that understand Pssm, for example, and other ones that really don't have enough education on it to be able to advise you adequately. So you might need to bring another vet onto your team. Then there are vets that specialize in neurological conditions. I've even had my own vet tell me this. When I had a neurological case, she said, look, I can help you do the initial exam, but then I'm gonna have to refer you to a neurological specialist for this horse because that is not my area of specialty. My area of specialty is surgery, and I think the other one was like lameness or something. Anyway, the point. Is that sometimes second opinions are really necessary. Sometimes being referred to a specialist is really necessary. I have one case study that I'm working with right now, a client where she had one vet. And this one vet actually did not have adequate information about pssm and was really doubtful. It was, you know, all this stuff, blah, blah, blah. And was really pushing back for, on the client. So I really, you know, we worked towards, or she really worked towards finding another vet that believed her and that would help her and her horse. And so she brought this other vet on board, and this other vet totally was on board. Got it. You know, she, But I need to send you to the specialist here. So let's collect all the data, the information, let's pull blood, let's get a urine sample, let's get the Pssm one test cuz they had gotten the PSSM two. And anyway, so let's get all these tests, let's get it all the information collected together and let's send it off to the specialist and then let's go from there. So that is a, that's a good vet. That's a vet that says, okay, I can do all of this groundwork for you, but this is not my area of specialty. Let's bring on this other vet into our team and let's work together with a specialist. That is 100% what you need in situations like this. And it's something that I wish more caregivers, horse caregivers, and owners would do is not just. Look at it like one vet knows all, or one trainer knows all, or one behaviorist knows all, or one who care provider knows all sometimes their specialty needs for that particular horse, for that particular case. And this happens in training too, and this happens in behavioral stuff too. If I have a case where the horse is just like it's going beyond my level of expertise or out of my specialty, I will refer them to somebody else or I will bring them on as an for a consult or something. In our case, and we see this in training too, when we talk about horse training. It's one of my biggest pet peeves that people will be like, oh, I, I sent 'em off to the horse trainer, or I'm working with a trainer, whatever. Okay, but trainer is this like huge catch term. For what? For everything. Like you've got cult starting, you've got riding instructor, you've got performance horse trainer, you've got somebody who spec, who does like behavior mods type stuff.

[00:37:36] There's like fixing pro behaviors. You've got. Like rehab type trainers who work specifically with horses that need to be rehabilitated from either a lesson or a traumatic event or whatever. Not a lesson, an injury or a traumatic event or something like that, or just re brought into fitness after your layoff. You've got so many different areas within that big catchphrase trainer, and those would be like their different specialties. So you've got somebody who really specializes in starting colts and you've got really somebody who specializes in like riding lesson. I don't specialize in riding lessons, I just don't. I could do it and if my one of my clients asked me for a riding lesson, I will do them and I could probably do a pretty dang good job within reason. But I tell them, I say, Hey, I will do this and I will help you get through some of the foundation stuff, but if you really are serious about like competing in this discipline or whatever, I need to refer you to a riding instructor, somebody who specializes in teaching riders for this particular discipline. Because that's just not my area of specialty. So that was a big long tangent to add onto the whole like pssm. Neurological, all of the different stuff. And this is why even with my dental stuff, so we'll go back to Pumpkin's case. I have my regular vets. I love them to death. They do a great job. But I go to a dental specialist for my horses. I don't just go to my vet for dental work, especially for like fractured teeth and needing extraction and dental extraction. I go to a specialist for that. Also when I have a horse that is, let's say, neurological or has equine metabolic syndrome or ir, so insulin resistance I talk to my vet about the different things we can do from a medical perspective, and then I go to a nutritionalist who specializes in nutrition to talk to them about how to get my horse's diet to a place where it is healthy for them and their insulin resistance and all of that. So I. Sounds complicated, but it is necessary to have a team that can help you with your horse and you need quite a few people on your team and this can really help save you and your horse so much, so many ups and downs and, and roadblocks and learning curves and all that. I mean, I'm just thinking like with River's case, if she had been with somebody. And I'm, it doesn't matter really who had her, but I'm just two different types of people. Okay. So it doesn't have to be me. Let's just say a horse like River with Pssm, she could have owner a, who maybe had the vet checker for ulcers and maybe did a palpation exam to make sure her back wasn't sore or whatever. And It just had the vet glance over her, right and And she would jog out fine. She would flex fine. She would look fine. She's in a great weight. She's great health. Her teeth are great. Everything is great from an outside perspective. And the vet goes all clear. You're good to go. And then this rider decides, okay, so the or owner decides, okay, this horse is all good, because the vet said it was all good, just from a basic like glance over and the horse started acting out or doing things like from pssm symptoms. And then the owner goes, oh, this horse is now just being difficult and being, you know, just rude and aggressive and dominant and needs to be, you know, put into submission and how dare defend themselves in their personal space from me or not let me touch them. That is just rude. The vet said she's fine. She's just being a mare when in reality her muscles are hurting her like crazy and she's in a lot of pain. Right.

[00:41:07] And then we've got owner B, so the second one. Which may be, which has the initial exam with the vet. All clear, everything looks good from the surface. Okay, great. Goes back to work with the horse. The horse is still showing some symptoms that don't seem quite right. Okay. Comes back to the vet and says, Hey vet, we need to do a deeper exam. Something's not quite right. She's still acting this way. Can we, what are some of our options? And then this vet. Potentially, you know, does another deeper exam. We start doing maybe some x-rays. We start maybe call in a specialist. Maybe we do some muscle palpation, I don't know all the things, right? We start looking at it from a bunch of different perspectives. We go to a deeper level, and then if we're still seeing symptoms, we go to another deeper level and we keep going down the levels until we find the cause for this behavior. Because this behavior does not come from dominance and doesn't come from being a mayor. It doesn't come from all those things. It comes from the horse trying to communicate and tell us something is wrong. It. There's a purpose for this behavior. All behavior serves a purpose. All behavior has a function.

[00:42:04] So the horse isn't doing this just for shits and grins, like they're not doing it for fun, they're doing it because they're trying to communicate something. So owner B says, let's keep going down these levels until we find the cause. Those are two very different owners for this horse. And can you imagine what would've happened to poor River with owner A versus owner B who kept going down the levels until we found the cause for the behavior? And maybe some of it is training related, maybe some of it is behavioral. So, Maybe it's not River, maybe it's a different horse. And we did the initial exam and nothing came back as glaring obvious. So we went back and we looked at it from a training perspective and and we just did, you know, some basic training and just did more handling and stuff.

[00:42:44] And then they go back for a second exam because we're still seeing the behavioral stuff. And then maybe this vet goes, Hey, you really need to talk to a behavioral consult. And our behavioral, oh my gosh, consultant and then that's when somebody like myself, my specialty gets called on board and I say, Hey, actually this behavior is showing up because the horse is fearful. So it actually isn't physically related. It is. Well, I mean it still is, but you know what I mean. It's not like a medical thing. It, it's behavior and we need to help this horse feel more comfortable and confident, and then we work together and now a sudden the problem is resolved. So this is where referring to other specialists and working together as a team and going down multiple levels and layers until we discover the cause for the behavior is so important versus stopping at the first level, stopping at the the entrance level of this problem and going whoop is the horse's problem sucks for them. They are dominant and a mare and they deserve to be beaten like. What I, yeah, my brain just goes, no, no, no, no, no, no. And can you imagine if that had happened to Poor River? Like it just breaks my heart to know that there's so many horses out there that are treated just like that, that in one little exam, or not even exam, like even we could say owner sees like, takes the horse out. The horse tries to bite them, and then he just starts running the horse around or she, or whatever starts running the horse around the round pin because it's dominant and they don't even look to the vet.

[00:44:08] So there's like three different levels here, you know. So we got owner A who does the initial exam, but stops there, owner B, that goes down all the different levels. Until we find it. And then owner C that doesn't do anything . So there's so many different options here, but I hope that listening to this episode, which was basically a giant rant about many different topics and updates and storytelling and all of that I hope that listening to this helped. In many different areas, hopefully, maybe there's little tidbits that could've helped you, whether it was to know that it's really important to keep diving down the different levels and not just dismiss it as behavior or a label like dominance or being a mayor, all that. And maybe also gave you some ideas of maybe some horses that you have or you're working with and you've been seeing some of these behaviors and you thought they were behavioral and, and, and maybe you realize now that maybe it's not, maybe there's something else going on. Maybe the fact that your horse won't pick up the canter isn't related to them just not wanting to and being lazy. Or maybe the fact that your horse sometimes lets you near their food and them, and sometimes won't, isn't actually resource guarding, but actually more pain related. Something else is going on. Or sometimes, or maybe your horse that refuses to be blanketed sometimes, but not others. That's maybe pain related. There's a lot of different things, or maybe the lack of being able to stand for the farrier. There's so many potentials for why that could be happening, but one of them is definitely pain. A really big one is because of pain. And it doesn't always have to be related to the joints, so it doesn't have to be like the knees are hurting, so he won't pick up his front leg. It could actually be muscular and it could also be neurological, and it could also, yeah, a lack of balance. All that, there's so many different factors. There's so much that you can think about. I'll leave you with this though. It can feel overwhelming. It can feel like the, it's just a never ending tunnel. And it is just, we, we could keep evaluating and bringing on specialists and on and on and on and on, and it would just drive us nuts, right? There's anytime our horse even looks at us wrong, it's like, or like, you know, differently. We're like, oh my gosh, call it the specialist. We can drive ourselves nuts doing that. And so what I'll tell you my kind of thought here is when I have a horse that is showing me a problem, like they have a behavior that's a, for me, , because it's usually a human anyway, when there's a behavior that's not normal or it's a problem for them or it's a problem for me, something's going on that we need to fix. Let's say I'll approach it simultaneously as a medical and simultaneously as behavioral and the reason for this is because of what I just mentioned, that there is so many possibilities and sometimes we don't know everything. Like up until recently, we didn't even know Pssm two existed. So, and we're still learning so much about it and there's so many possibilities there. There are so many possibilities of what we don't know, that we can never completely rule out medical and it could drive us crazy to trying to rule out medical completely. And it's Impossible to completely have to rule it out because until you can ask your horse, horse, do you feel okay? And they verbally answer you, I feel okay. You can't ever rule out medical. So what we can do is like when I get a new case in or a horse for training or a new horse of mine or something like that, or I go work with a client's horse, we'll say, okay, I'm seeing these behaviors, you know, I really think we need to look at these more at, we need to look at these as potentially medical, potentially pain related. When was the last time you had the dentist out? When was the last time you had the vet out? Let's look at, let's talk to the farrier. Let's look at nutrition. Like look at, let's look at all of these other stuff, and I'm kind of putting body work and nutrition and healthcare into the medical category, right? So we'll say physical, physically related or medical. We'll just go with medical. So it's medically related over here. Simultaneously, we start looking at all of that stuff. We start trying to check in the boxes and looking and digging and digging and digging. While over here simultaneously on the other side of things, I start saying, okay, how can we set this environment up for success? How can we help this horse not feel like you're taking their. Let's say it's a resource guarding situation. How can we set up the environment differently? How can we also counter condition your approaching the food? Can we teach them at you? Approaching while they're eating is actually a positive thing. So we're actually doing a training behavioral mod on the right or on this other side over here. You can't see me, but I'm like pointing over to the right. And then on the other side, the left side is the medical we're looking at. Do we have potentially we have ulcers. What does their diet look like? Do they have 24 7 forage, like on and on, and. So we're looking at from two different perspectives at the same time. And you can evaluate your own horse's behavior in this in a similar way. And maybe for you though, what's gonna happen is as a horse owner caregiver, you say, okay, my horse is. Resource is, is coming after me when I approach them and they're eating food. Okay. Well that'll be the problem. I'm going to start making appointments with a nutritionist, a a vet and, you know, you can do one at a time and depending on how your finance is allowed to, because I know this is big, this, these can get really expensive really fast. But you can start like ticking the boxes and really digging and making sure you're working with people that are really qualified in their area and special. And then on the other side you say, I need to get in touch with a trainer or a behaviorist who specializes in resource guarding and understands what this is and understands where it comes from behaviorally. So you're looking at it from a training perspective, a behavior perspective, and also a medical, physical perspective. So you're doing both the same time. So, and then also I can get on board and talk with your vets and your nutritionist and your fairer. I can chat with all them. All of us on your team can work together to help your horse. This was a very long episode, . I just really wanted to share with you guys what's been going on with my horses over the last year. And kind of give you guys some information as to what I've been learning and exploring and doing, and hoping that it helps you in some way and also really explain to you the different things that I do, whether it's talking about the academy and the online stuff that I do, or we're talking about what I do more locally with my horses or with my clients. And this is what I love. Obviously I'm like passion talking. At this point, I'm just like going and talking and sharing, and. It's really important to me that you guys take away from podcast episodes like this one, something that will empower you to be the best horse caregiver that you can be, and to understand your horse, and to be able to go out there, step out into your field today with your horse and help your horse. And so a lot of this stuff you can start doing on your own and then you, until you can find somebody to come help you, or maybe you try a few things on your own, and then if you realize you need more help, then that's when you call in somebody. So there's so many different levels. There's so many different options available here, depending on your time, your finances, what you know, what your experience level is, all of that. And there's really no right answer or wrong answer here. It's just a matter of trying your best. And then continuing to move forward and not blaming your horse when you're seeing behaviors and working to understand it.

[00:51:08] So I hope this episode was helpful for you guys and that you enjoyed listening to me passion talk and didn't get too annoyed. I am definitely open to questions about anything I mentioned in this episode, and I really appreciate you guys listening and supporting the podcast. Please don't forget that you can, two things. One, you can actually send me messages if you go to anchor. Dot fm slash the willing equine. You can actually send me a voice message and I can answer it in future podcast episodes. You can also support the podcast financially. That would be a huge blessing to me. As I don't have advertisements on my episodes anymore, I've just been recording them straight and sharing them with you guys. Any financial support is so thanked and welcomed to continue to allow me to do this episode, to do the podcast. And provide you guys with this information, share with you guys these stories and just connect with you. And so yeah. Anyway, those are my two things, my two final things. I look forward to talking with any of you guys that do join the foundation course in the academy coming up here in the next month. I think that is all. Thank you guys, and I will talk to you guys in the next episode.

[00:52:22] Thanks so much for listening. If you enjoyed this podcast episode, I would love if you left us a review on wherever you listen to your podcast. If you'd like to learn more, head to our website, the willing, where you'll find a bunch of links to our different social media platforms. We have Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Facebook, pretty much everything.

[00:52:40] We also have our blog, our training. Is and the T w E Academy where you can enroll in the foundation course, that opens a few times a year. Thanks so much for listening, and I look forward to chatting with you in the next episode.

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